Consumer Reports downgrades Tesla models because of missing safety feature

Photo (c) Tesla

The latest S and X models don't have automatic emergency braking enabled

Tesla has had a rather rocky relationship with Consumer Reports. At times, Tesla models have been top picks by the magazine's experts, but the romance doesn't always last.

The latest incident concerns Tesla's Models S and X. Consumer Reports is lowering the cars' ratings because the automaker has not enabled the new models with the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) safety feature it said would come as standard.

Tesla says it is working through some software issues. But the process has stretched on for six months, leaving owners without the safety feature they thought they were getting. 

Earlier models had it

The previous Model S and Model X came with functioning AEB as standard. Models produced between late Oct. 2016 and now do not. In a statement to Consumer Reports, Tesla says it expects the software update to come Thursday.

Consumer Reports gives extra rating points to cars that offer AEB as a standard feature, placing value on the braking technology because of its potential to prevent crashes and reduce injuries. Consumer Reports encourages companies to offer the technology standard, without requiring consumers to pay thousands more for a higher option package.

“When we purchased our latest test car, we were assured automatic emergency braking would be enabled by the end of 2016,” said Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center in Colchester, Conn. “We’ve been waiting for this important safety feature, which is standard equipment on much cheaper cars.”

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